Qualifying for Social Security Disability Benefits

Posted in Social Security Disability. Tuesday, Oct 20th, 2015

Social Security was initially founded in an effort to provide a safety net to people who were unable to work, and 80 years later it is still serving that purpose. One major part of that goal is the existence of disability benefits for people who are unable to work as a result of some medical condition. However, there is often confusion about whether a person qualifies to receive those benefits.

That confusion is understandable since the government regulations for determining whether a person is disabled for the purposes of Social Security are complex. However, disability requirements can be broken down into two levels: medical requirements and financial requirements.


Social Security disability’s medical requirements are about determining whether a person’s medical condition renders them unable to work. Generally, there are five steps to the process of figuring out whether a person’s medical problems are severe enough to qualify for disability benefits.

First, your work history is examined. In order to be eligible to receive benefits, you must have worked for a sufficient number of quarters for at least five of the past 10 years (20 out of the part 40 quarters.

Furthermore, you must be able to present evidence of a medical impairment that is deemed severe. This evidence must be sufficient, objective, and relevant to the severe medical impairment that you claim. Without such evidence it is virtually certain that your claim will be denied.

In addition, you must also have what the Social Security Administration considers a qualifying disability. The Social Security Administration retains a list of qualifying medical condition; before you file a claim, you should search through the list to ensure your condition is present. However, even if your condition is not present, this does not automatically bar you from being eligible to receive benefits.

When determining whether you are eligible for benefits, the Social Security Administration will also examine any past relevant work that you performed; specifically, the Administration, will look to determine whether your medical condition prevents you from performing any relevant work you have completed in the past. If the Administration decides that you are unable to perform any past relevant work, the determination continues.

Finally, the Social Security Administration will look to see if there is any other type of work that you are able to perform given your current medical impairment. If, after this examination, the Administration finds that you cannot retain any gainful employment with your condition, you will then be considered “disabled” for the purposes of being eligible for benefits.

Applying for Social Security disability can be daunting, especially after an initial denial, but there is help available. If you have questions about applying for disability benefits, contact a Columbus social security attorney at the Law Office of Mike Gertner today.